Influence

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Learn that godly influence begins with listening to and obeying God (Isaiah 55:3–5). #Influence #BeingTheBestFORTheWorld https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.55.3-5.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Men may think that they must have fame, wealth and power to have influence. At times men may feel they deserve to be heard. That is pride and arrogance speaking. But when one comes to God, listens to God and follows God‘s counsel, that one, whether great or small, from humble beginnings or advantaged beginnings, may have great and godly influence.

Why is this so? Because God is the one who exalts the individual, in his way, in his time (1Pe 5:6). He does so in meager surroundings and in sufficient to substantial surroundings. For God, it is not about being the best IN the world. It is about being the best FOR the world. I must examine first the one standing in the one square foot of space I occupy.

Lord, you have allowed this old sentry opportunity for godly influence; first in my family, then in my circle of friends and associates; in my realms of life. I could ask for nothing more.

Perpetual Well Of Life

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

That your thirsty heart will be abundantly satisfied (Isa 55:1-3). #Above&Beyond #LivingWater https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.55.1-3.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah Chapter 55 flows from Redemption‘s story (Ch 53) through the assurances of Redemption‘s victory (Ch 54) and into a grand and glorious invitation to Redemption‘s offer of God’s free gift of life everlasting (Ch 55). Isaiah says, “Anyone thirsty? Come drink freely. Are you hungry? The finest food is available, free.”

Jesus probably had these verses in mind when he said, “and from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water (Jhn 7:37,38).“ John the Apostle writes from exile, “He [who sits on the throne] said, ‘I will give water of life to the thirsty…freely’“ (Rev 21:6). So The thirsty soul may drink long and often from the well of perpetual life giving water (Jhn 4:13,14). Lord, there could be no clearer invitation in the Old Testament for this thirsty sentry to bring his unquenchable thirst/hunger to you. You will not fail to abundantly satisfy.

What Splendor Awaits

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we know the splendor of God’s response to hearts renewed towards him (Isa 54:11,12; Rev 21:9-21). #WhatSplendor #GodsHeartForMan https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.54.11-12.NIV

The City Of God

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am often arrested by the imagery of Scripture. I am halted, at times for days, wondering the meaning of it all (turquoise, sapphire foundations, pearl & ruby gates, mortar made of precious jewels). What splendor for mere men to imagine. Many, smarter than I, have speculated their meaning.

What splendor there is for a shipped wrecked Israel as she repents and discovers again God‘s heart for her. What Splendor awaits the church triumphant in the millennium (Rev 21:9-21). But most of all, what splendor awaits my wandering heart when times of refreshing come to me. Thank you Lord, for your splendid gifts to my repentant heart.

Sing Joyful Songs

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Exult in triumphant joyful song for your redemption (Isa 54:1-5). #SingOSingOfMyRedeemer https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.54.5.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Coming down out of the clouds of the “Suffering Servant” prophecy, Isaiah jubilantly exhorts Israel to break into triumphant songs of joy. She had been cut off for her unfaithfulness. Like a woman unable to have children she had been shamed. But now God would show her favor as a woman blessed with many children.

Israel’s mourning over captivity and shame would be changed to joyful singing. She would be set free. Her shame and unfaithfulness, she would remember no more. And so it has been for this old sentry. Lord, you have blessed me since my days of repentance – the sins of my youth have been forgotten and I exult in my Redeemer.

I Will Sing Of My Redeemer: https://youtu.be/3p8THfJihuc

A Rebel Like Me

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Comprehend, acknowledge, God‘s great love and burden for us as rebels (Isa 53:10–12). #GodLovesYou #JesusDiedForYou #JesusInterceedsForYou https://bible.com/bible/1588/isa.53.10-12.AMP

Jesus is in this picture in every face

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In these verses God explains clearly that his Servant, our Redeemer, will lay down his life as the final sacrifice for man’s sin (v10). As a result, many rebels will be made righteous because of his sacrifice (v11; Rom 10:9,10; 2Co 5:21; Eph 4:22–24).

Jesus is in this pic in every face

Most remarkable of all, he gave up his glory to become a man like me (Phi 2:7). He was subject to every sin and temptation, yet he himself was without sin (Heb 4:15,16). “He was counted among [identified with] the rebels (v12).“ He was like me but not me. He bore my sin and now as my Redeemer he is at the right hand of the Father advocating and interceding for me (Rom 8:34). He is my compassionate Prayer Sentry.

Victorious Redeemer-Warrior

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Esteem, honor, the Lord’s Christ as victorious over sin (Isa 53:10–12). #VictoryOverSin #SufferingServant #VictoriousRedeemer https://bible.com/bible/1588/isa.53.10-12.AMP

Coming King Sculpture – Kerrville,Texas

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah 53:10–12 stands in sharp contrast and great relief to verses 1–9. Here it is revealed, as difficult as it is to absorb, that the plan of God all along had been to crush the Redeemer-Prince and cause him great anguish. However, it is important to note that the point of that anguish was not for the sake of anguish. It was for the sake of absolving man’s sin.

Does a parent take joy in punishing a child? No. It is for the sake of a future outcome. Just so, the Redeemer will see God‘s plan prosper and the redemption accomplished by his suffering. He will be satisfied at the future outcome. Many will come to wholeness out of sin. The Redeemer himself will be honored as a victorious soldier.

(Note Hebrews 12:2 “[Keep your] eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated [victorious] in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (NLT) )

The only adequate response of the duty sentry is to fall on the floor of the watchtower, weep tears of repentance, tears of joy and worship the victorious Redeemer.

The Matchless Grace of Jesus

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we grow in our knowledge of, praise and affection for, the Redeemer and his enormous sacrifice for sin (Isa 53:7-9). #SinsDebtCanceled https://bible.com/bible/1588/isa.53.7-9.AMP

MORNING WATCH NOTES (Extended):

The prophecy of Isaiah 53 continues here to describe the oppressive and unrighteous nature of the Redeemer’s shameful treatment and trial. Yet, this Redeemer, under great duress, said not a word of complaint. He surrendered as a lamb led to the slaughter, as a sheep before his shearers. He saw it through to the end.

The debt of sin, death, was called in. The Redeemer patiently, meekly and quietly suffered oppressive treatment and the unrighteous proceedings of incited leaders and an angry mob. He was charged for acts he never committed. He was cut down, sharply canceled out, before ever he might have a single heir in this earth (v10 informs us that he would ultimately have many spiritual heirs). For the sins of the people this righteous man, we now know as Jesus, The Christ, was struck down violently and suffered in our place.

The Redeemer, falsely accused, died a criminal’s death. The Jews would have buried him dishonorably along with the two thieves or the malevolent but sparred Barabbas. However, the Romans handed his body over to Joseph, the Aramathaean – a “rich man.” Why? Because according to the Scriptures, “His actions were [truly] prompted by pure love and his speech consisted of unclouded sincerity and truth.“* This honorable burial would inaugurate his glorification to come, noted in v10,12.

Barnes assesses this passage beautifully: “How strikingly and literally was this [prophecy] fulfilled in the life of [Christ]. It would seem almost as if it had been written after he had lived, and was history rather than prophecy. No other person ever so entirely accorded with the description of [Christ] by the prophet.“**

O how great is the enormity of this old sentry’s sin. How sufficient is the wonderful matchless grace of my Redeemer-Prince (Jesus the Messiah). He forgave all my sin and gave me life eternal. All he asks in return is that men would “believe the message” and trust in him (v1). The way I thank him and honor him is by believing and following him.

O how Wonderful The Matchless Grace of Jesus https://youtu.be/vsPc-Ix3_ow

* Kiel-Delitzsch, Commentary on Isaiah, Eerdmans Publishing (1975), Grand Rapids, Mich (pg 829).

** Barnes’ Notes on Isaiah, Baker Publishing (1980), Ann Arbor, Mich (pg 272).

Only One Response

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

O, that we might “BELIEVE” the message, receive and follow the Redeemer (Isa 53:1,4,5). #Believe https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Isaiah%2053:1,4-5&version=AMP

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“By his stripes we are healed.“ Grasp the context here. Our Redeemer didn’t just represent man in redemption from sin. He literally took our sin AND all their consequences into his own being. All our weaknesses (the result of sin), all our sorrows, our troubles, our rebellion, our sickness and disease (all the results of sin, increasing his pain exponentially), he absorbed in his own body.

O, the anguish of our Redeemer’s soul. It was unspeakable, bearing ALL our sin and their consequences. His “stripes“ were literal. They painfully represent his horrible, unspeakable death. ALL that sin is and represents – the disease of certain and eternal death (were there NO redemption) – our Redeemer died for and provided for us complete wholeness and healing. We are healed, saved, from the curse of sin and ALL its consequences.

I am staggered and left without words, how to respond. The Lord tells me in verse one my only necessary response. Simply “BELIEVE the message,” receive and follow Jesus.

MY FALLEN SELF

(Isa 53:1-12; Luk 18:9-14) #Fallen #SavedByGrace https://bible.com/bible/97/isa.53.11.MSG https://bible.com/bible/97/luk.18.9-14.MSG

When I think of my fallen self and how desperately wicked can be my heart, I think of my risen Savior who has borne my sin and shame and redeemed me to himself.

The sin, which does so easily beset me, has its end in the cross of Calvary. It drives afresh the nails into my Savior’s hands and feet. My besetting sins do not go unaccounted for. These… 

…my sins of commission – to lie, to lust, to speak ill/criticize, to waste time;

…my sins of omission – to disobey by not going when moved, not speaking when prompted, not helping when urged;

…my sins of disposition – envy, pride, anger, evil desire; 

All these my sins, and more, go painfully under the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.

My unmerited righteousness in Christ does not come without a price. I cannot flee the failure of sins committed, but I can, in Christ, flee from the sin not yet committed before it besets me. AND EVERY SIN FROM WHICH I FLEE IS THAT MUCH PAIN RELIEVED IN MY SAVIOR’S BODY. FOR EVERY SIN RESISTED IS A SIN FOR WHICH HE DID NOT HAVE TO DIE.

Where sin has abounded in my heart without confession, my precious Savior is left to suffer. For lack of confession is unbelief in his atoning sacrifice, his faithfulness to forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1Jn 1:9). My confession acknowledges and accepts his sacrifice.

If he did not want to forgive us he would not have died so horrible a death. So believe. Do not carry your burden of sin. He has borne it.

Confess it and do not mourn any longer. You are forgiven and accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:6).

__________

(Note: the following is from Valley Of Vision, a book of Puritan prayers)

“…if I sin not I should thank thee for it; 

“…if I do sin I should be humbled daily under it;

“…I should mourn for sin more than other men do, for when I see I shall die because of sin, that makes me mourn; when I see how sin strikes at thee, that makes me mourn; when I see that sin caused Christ’s death, that makes me mourn;”

“…Thou has taught me that faith is nothing else than receiving thy kindness; that it is an adherence to Christ, a resting on him, a love clinging to him as a branch to the tree, to seek life and vigor from him.” [To mourn no longer]

“…I thank thee for showing me the vast difference between knowing things by reason, and knowing them by the spirit of faith. [Job 42:5,6]

“…By reason I see a thing is so; by faith I know it is. 

“…I have seen thee by reason [head knowledge] and have not been amazed.

“…I have seen thee as thou are in the Son [by faith] and HAVE BEEN RAVISHED TO BEHOLD THEE…

“…I bless thee that I am thine in my Savior, Jesus.” [Mourn no longer]

The Substitute

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

O that we may deepen in our love for and surrender to Jesus (Isa 53:3-6). #SufferingServant #ForgivenessForSin https://bible.com/bible/97/isa.53.2-6.MSG

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The painful reality is that our Redeemer-prince, who is here spoken of, suffered excruciatingly for our sin. He was treated as lower than the lowest in society. He took upon himself the grief and agonies of men. He was our substitute. Men interpreted his calamities as punishment for his own sin. But, NO! It was for our sin, my sin, that he took such punishment.

Jesus was my substitute. He was crushed for my sins, whipped so I could be healed (made whole). It was I for whom my Savior bled and died. He was my substitute. The Lord – God laid upon him all the sins of every man, past and present. He was my substitute; the sinless servant suffered punishment for my sin. No other could have stood in for me and borne the penalty for my sin? No one! Lord, may the love and devotion of this old sentry for you, deepen with every passing day.

Trust The Truth

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Have an unassailable trust in the veracity of God’s Word (Isa 53:1-12; 2Ti 3:16). #TrustGodsWord https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.53.5-10.NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/2ti.3.16.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Reading Isaiah 53 reminds me of one of the great irrefutable evidences of the veracity of God’s word: the fulfillment of prophecy. We see in the life of Christ and his suffering on the cross for the sins of mankind the fulfillment of Isaiah 53.

Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies. There are still some yet to be fulfilled… That is, those related to Christ’s return. Fulfilled prophecy is just one evidence of the inspiration and trustworthiness of Scripture. Lord, This aged sentry has fully trusted in your word for many years. Your Word has never failed me.

Who’da Thot?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we never underestimate the power of Jesus to save mankind (Isa 53:1–3). #ManOfSorrows #ManOfGrief #JesusSaviorOfTheWorld https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.53.1-3.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Who would ever have thought that a scrawny kid from Nazareth, the son of a humble craftsman, would grow up to become the savior of the world. Unlikely.

Jesus did not possess all the attributes we’ve come to expect in “leaders” – wealth, power, good looks, education, large following. No, the Messiah, Jesus, had none of those things. Unlikely.

Jesus was an “ordinary Joe,” as we might put it. He was fully acquainted with the hurt men feel (no silver spoon in his mouth). Therefore, he was despised and rejected. But he was severely underestimated. Unlikely.

Men have made a drastic miscalculation to disregard the life, teaching and ministry of Jesus – the Messiah, Savior of the world. “Who has believed the message? Who has seen his power?” (V1). Lord, I have believed and have received you as Savior and Lord. I have seen your power in my life.

No Words

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May hearts dissolve in thankfulness and eyes melt in tears for the Savior’s love and sacrifice (Isa 52:13-15). #NoGreaterLove #SufferingServant https://bible.com/bible/1588/isa.52.13-15.AMP

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Following Jehovah‘s announcement of his deliverance of Israel from the hands of Babylon the subject is left. What follows is the most magnificent description of the coming Redeemer and Messiah in all the Bible (Isa 52:13-53:12). There is no superlative in the English language to describe or enhance this portion of scripture regarding the Lord’s Messiah – Jesus.

Isaiah now describes the coming Savior of the world. He sees his disfigurement and rejection as a necessary part of salvation-redemption. Described here as the humble suffering servant, this Savior would cleanse the nations. Though not immediately recognized he would amaze many and he would be highly exalted. Paul refers to this passage as the gospel to the world (Rom 15:20,21).

Lord, words fail me to express my gratitude for such a gracious savior. “Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt mine eyes to tears.” *

* At The Cross, Isaac Watts, 1707

When Sentries Stand Down

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Celebrate our great victory in God’s Redeemer-prince (Isa 52:4-10). #LetThePartyBegin #CelebrateJesus https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.52.4-10.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When comes the deliverance of the people of God, men will cease to blaspheme his name. His people will see him for who he is and come to know his power. Deliverance is on the way. Salvation is on the way. So says “the messenger.“ “The God of Israel reigns!“ Let the party begin.

All the nations will see God‘s power and victory. Redemption has come. His people are comforted. All the ruins of the fallen holy city will break forth into joyful song. Even the sentries, the watchmen on the walls stand down, leave their post and join the celebration of the return of God’s people. [Angels too, celebrate the return of lost sinners to God – Luke 15:10]. Lord you have given this sentry great reason to celebrate – the Lord has come!

Good News!

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Find your hope in the “Good News,” the gospel of salvation (Isa 52:3–7). #GoodNews #Deliverance #Salvation https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.52.3-7.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Filled with anticipation for the announcement of the coming Messiah-Deliverer (Isa 52:13-53:12), God announces “Good News“ (v7) to those in captivity. Deliverance is here. Judah wantonly sold herself into slavery for nothing. She will be released at no cost.

God will raise up a conquering prince, Cyrus of Persia. He will plunder Judah’s captors and in an act of mercy and justice, release God’s people back to their homeland. “How beautiful are the feet of the messenger who brings good news of peace and salvation. The God of Israel reigns.“ He has done the same for me. Lord, ain’t that Good News!

AIN’T THAT GOOD NEWS

I got a robe up in that Kingdom; Ain’t that good news, Ain’t that good news

I got a robe up in that Kingdom; Ain’t that good news, Ain’t that good news

(CHORUS) I’m gonna lay down this world, Gonna shoulder up my cross; Gonna take it home to my Jesus, Ain’t that good news, ain’t that good news

I got a crown up in that Kingdom; Ain’t that good news, Ain’t that good news

I got a crown up in that Kingdom; Ain’t that good news, Ain’t that good news

(CHORUS)

I got a Savior in-a that Kingdom; Ain’t that good news, Ain’t that good news

I got a Savior in-a that Kingdom; Ain’t that good news, Ain’t that good news

(CHORUS)

Wait For It…

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Endow us with renewed enthusiasm for the things of God: the will, the work and the wonder (Isa 52:1,2). #Renewal #Revival #TheJoyOfHeaven https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.52.1-2.NLT

Anticipating The Reveal Of Heaven’s
Messiah-Redeemer

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Get your party clothes on. Arise from the dust and the ashes. Take the place of honor, O Jerusalem (vv1,2). I, the Lord, I’m about to demonstrate my power…do an unheard of thing (v10).” Jehovah God is ready to “throw down” one of the greatest prophecies of the coming Messiah-Redeemer in recorded Scripture.

Isaiah‘s pen is ready. He has no idea what God is about to reveal to him [in Isaiah 53]. But God knows. I see God as beside himself with joy as he anticipates what he is about to say. On this side of redemption I too know what is coming. In my morning watch I am just trying to let that anticipation of Heaven sink into my small finite place in the universe. Lord, endow this lone sentry with renewed joy for the things of God: the will, the work and the wonder.

Redemption. Done.

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

Rest assured in God’s completed redemption plan in Christ (Isa 49:8-13). #RedeemerHasCome https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.49.8-13.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Here reads the assurances from God of the complete effectiveness of his Redeemer. If God sends him, he will respond to his need. God will help him, protect him and make of him the promise to deliver his people. He is a Redeemer–shepherd (vv9–12).

In the age of the Redeemer (“the right time”) men will be set free from the darkness of their sin and come to the light. They will be led, cared for and nurtured by the great Redeemer-shepherd. This deliverance is worthy of great rejoicing and loud songs of praise.

Lord, what a great assurance is ours that our promised Redeemer-shepherd has come. He is Jesus, the crucified one; raised from the grave, ascended to Heaven and now seated at the right hand of God.

An Invitation To Faith

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

May we have a passionate witness for Christ (Acts 2:37-41). #BoldChristianWitness https://bible.com/bible/116/act.2.37-38.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When the Spirit of God comes to rest in those who have trusted Christ as Savior, they will rejoice to call him Lord. They will enthusiastically speak as a witness for him. They will not condemn those around them. But they will convey the truth, that God loves the broken and fallen sinner. They will share the truth and God will do the rest.

That is what Peter, the disciples and the 120 did at Pentecost. The Spirit in-dwelt them. They preached the truth and invited others to follow Jesus. 3,000 people accepted the King’s invitation (probably more). Lord, when this sentry opens his mouth and shares Christ, seeds of faith are planted. Your kingdom will increase.

No Greater Call

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

Bend our hearts Lord, to sharing the Gospel message with all we meet (Isa49:6,7). #GospelWitness #ShareTheGoodNews #ShareJesusNow https://bible.com/bible/59/isa.49.6-7.ESV

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Verses 6 & 7 bears the mention of one further thought. Jehovah here reveals the importance of the Redeemer’s task. The restoration of the people of God back into relationship with him as paramount. But it was a small thing compared to being the light to all men.

It was far more important that the message of Redemption be spread to the ends of the earth. (Note Mat 28:19,20; Acts 1:8). It is to this end that believers in Christ are commissioned, called, to “Go and make disciples.” Lord, there could be no higher calling than to be a witness to others of the redemption story of Christ.*

*See Barnes’ Notes, Isaiah 49:6, Pg. 204 (last paragraph before 49:7).

Truly Accepted

PRAYER: Look for your acceptance in God’s measure of your life (Isa 49:1-7) #AccteptedByGod https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.49.1-7.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I have often wondered at the success of my call and work when everything around it may seem to have failed – at least according to the measure of men; when things fell short of my expectations. Well, here I learn that my friend and Redeemer – Jesus, felt the same way about his ministry. He says, “To what purpose have I come Lord? My work seems useless. But, I leave it in your hands Lord, Jehovah.“

Jesus’ mission, ending in a criminal crucifixion, may have seemed like a failure by men’s standards. However, Jehovah God was/is pleased with Christ’s work. But for a much different reason. His work would ultimately bring salvation to all men. Lord, my acceptance with you is based on the finished work of Christ on the cross and my faithfulness to your call on my life.

If you need me Lord, I’ll be here at my sentinel’s post as ordered.

Why Israel Is The Chosen Seed Of God

PRAYER: Look to the omniscient plan of God for redemption (Isa 48:1,4,8-11) https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.48.1-11.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES (EXTENDED):

Every now and then one has to stop and take stock of all God is doing; take into account the bigger picture. It enables the prayer sentry to pray with understanding. I had one of those days yesterday. Here is what God showed me.

The story of Israel, the Jewish race, is the story God’s redemption. God chose to reveal himself to mankind through the Jewish race. They would be the chosen seed, the chosen light pointing men to God. However, they failed to do that as a people. They were persistently disobedient and rebellious toward God. Yet, God seems somehow to always be the protective father, letting his favored child continue in disobedience. Why does God continually protect them? I find myself wondering, “Why does God seem to always put up with Israel’s waywardness and incorrigibility?” “Why did he choose them?”

The Old Testament reveals that God does discipline his chosen people throughout the course of their national life. But Israel, as a whole, never seems to get it. They just seem to be a constant disappointment to God. At one point God does seems willing to start over. But then Moses steps in to protect them. He asks God not to destroy Israel completely and God relents (Exodus 32:1-14).

The questions to me seem to be: why did God choose Israel? Would there not have been another people group who would have shown themselves to be more faithful? The answer to that questions is, “Probably not.” Why did God find it necessary to choose some outlying race of people anyway?

Certainly, greater minds than mine have pondered these questions for, no doubt, ages. But here is my simple and feeble assessment. I think the answer to why God chose Israel, the Jewish race, as his chosen people, lies in the omniscient plan, character and love of God. In the beginning God set out to redeem mankind from their fall into sin. God’s omniscient plan called for a Redeemer and a sacrifice for sin. This is seen in the first blood sacrifice of an animal out of the Garden of Eden. God performed the first sacrifice. Instead of killing Adam for his sin (for the wages of sin is death-Rom 6:23), God took the life of an animal (shed its blood as a substitute, propitiation for sin) and used the skin as a “covering” for Adam and Eve. Thus, God covered the sin of man (Gen 3:21).

Back to the nation of Israel. God didn’t choose the Jewish people because of their superior moral character or their religious devotion. In fact, God never chooses any of us because we are so righteous or so good. In fact, to the contrary, Scripture says there is no one righteous, not one (Rom 3:10). But I digress.

The Jewish race was chosen because God is sovereign not because they were superior. He could have chosen any people group. Through this chosen seed, God would institute and implement symbols of worship, sacrifice and redemption. This structure in the Jewish sacrificial system would be, has been and is, sufficient to forecast or foretell God’s Redeemer and the sacrifice for sin. This sacrifice would be the ground of redemption for all who would believe.

Israel was and is no different from any other people group. They were, we all are, sinners. But what God needed was a human ancestry, a lineage, a seed from which a Redeemer-sacrifice would emerge, from which his GRACE would extend to all men. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was that Redeemersacrifice. Jesus would be the fulfillment of God’s promise of redemption. He would be God’s sacrifice, God’s instrument of GRACE to all men for their sin. The Jewish nation was selected by the sovereign plan of God to bear witness to and be the seed and instrumentality of that redemption. She was not selected not because she was perfect but because God is sovereign.

Further, God chose the Jewish race knowing full well in advance that they would be prideful, disobedient, obstinate, stiff-necked, rebellious and hard hearted. God knew in advance that this people would break his heart over and over again. God would discipline and or punish their sinful rebellion, but he would not completely destroy the ancestry, the lineage, the seed from which his Redeemer would eventually emerge. In fact, God would go to extravagant lengths to protect his people…even if it was only a small remnant.

So, the story and history of God’s chosen people is really the story of all men. Just as God showed mercy and grace to a sinful, stubborn and rebellious people of Israel, so he shows mercy and grace to all people. The story of God’s longsuffering with me is reflected in the story of God’s longsuffering with Israel. They deserved nothing. He gave them everything. So, it is with me as well.

All men everywhere are indebted. Not indebted to the Jewish race, but to God, for choosing a people (a people like me, no different from me) to reveal his Redeemer, Jesus Christ. There were no perfect people from which to choose. There are still no perfect people. Never has been. What we do have is a perfect Redeemer, Jesus Christ, whom God was pleased to sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. Just as Israel was chosen by GRACE, sustained by GRACE and saved by GRACE, so we to are chosen, sustained and saved by GRACE.

There are none righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10).

All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). 

But God demonstrates is own love for us, in that while were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). 

Next time you think that God is unfairly and forever longsuffering with the Jewish race, his seed of redemption, think about how longsuffering he has been and is with you as well. So we should be towards others.

The Case For Grace

PRAYER: May your heart resound with songs of God’s marvelous grace (Isa 48:20). #SingOfMyRedemeer https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.48.20.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Though the people of God were promise breakers, stubborn, obstinate, stiff-necked and hardheads (v1,4), still, God was gracious. Though they were indifferent to God and often ignored him, God was gracious. Though they did not listen when God exposed their idols as imposters (vv5,14) and revealed himself as far superior (vv12,13,17), still, he was gracious.

No matter the rebellious state of his people, still he was gracious. For the sake of his name he would deliver them, set them free to a future and a hope from captivity in Babylon (v11). God is the consummate loving Father. God has and always will, stand by his people, as a father with his children (vv20,21). He stands by me in my failures. But for those whom he does not know, there will be no peace (v22). Lord, the heart of this old sentry sings of his gracious Redeemer.

I WILL SING OF MY REDEEMER

(Philip P Bliss -1876)

V1) I will sing of my Redeemer,

  And His wondrous love to me;

On the cruel cross He suffered,

  From the curse to set me free.

(chorus)

    Sing, oh, sing of my Redeemer,

      With His blood He purchased me,

    On the cross He sealed my pardon,

        Paid the debt, and made me free.

V2 I will tell the wondrous story,

  How my lost estate to save,

In His boundless love and mercy,

  He the ransom freely gave.

V3) I will praise my dear Redeemer,

  His triumphant pow’r I’ll tell,

How the victory He giveth

  Over sin, and death, and hell.

V4) I will sing of my Redeemer,

  And His heav’nly love to me;

He from death to life hath brought me,

Son of God with Him to be.

Eyes Wide Open

PRAYER: Remain open-eyed to all that God has done and is doing (Isa45:14–25). #EyesWideOpen GodIsFaithful https://bible.com/bible/97/isa.45.14-25.MSG

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

These final words in Chapter 45 are all at once magnetic, arresting and captivating. These words draw us inescapably into God‘s plan of mercy and righteousness.

Whom God chooses (here, the Persian king, Cyrus) he empowers for the task (v14). God moves in powerful and mysterious ways (vv15-17). What God says and does he does out loud, for all to hear and know. Following God is not the result of some “secret path.” He has said, “If you seek me, you shall find me“ (vv18,19). What God says he will do (vv20,21).

All men will look to him for eternal salvation. His promises are true and every knee will eventually bow before him. All will confess him and give praise to him. Those who have worked against him will be ashamed. His followers will boast in him alone (vv22–25). God’s plan of redemption is visible for all to see. Lord, I commit to remain open-eyed to all you say and do.

No Stopping God’s Plan

PRAYER: Choose to be willing vessels in God’s hands (Isa 45:9–13). #TrustingGod #PotterAndClay https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.45.9-12.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Men with fleshly attitudes will always rail against God’s plans. It is true from time immemorial. Man stood in opposition to God in the garden and in the days of the Kings of Israel. They stood against Christ in his birth and in his life. They stood against the spread of the Gospel. They have stood, times without number, against revivals led by the Holy Spirit. How’d all that work out?

Men of the flesh act like clay in the potter’s hands telling the potter, “You don’t know what you are doing. Your hands have no skill.“ No matter, God continues his program of mercy and Redemption. There will be no refuting God’s work among men. Those who refute God will be dishonored. “The Lord of Heaven‘s Armies has spoken!“ Lord you are my Creator, my Deliverer, my redeemer. Mold my life according to your will – I yield to your skilled hands.

A Reason To Hope

If there was ever a time in America when we needed a certain hope it is now. Give us a deep and abiding trust in you Lord.

PRAYER: Trust God in the hard times of life as well as the good times (Isa 44:4-8). #GodIsGoodAllTheTime #AllTheTimeGodIsGood https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.45.4-8.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God clearly explains why he summoned, called and equipped the Persian, Gentile, pagan king, Cyrus. Because he knew his people would need 1) a deliverer from the coming Babylonian captivity, 2) a hope in the midst of tragedy and darkness (God is the God of both dark times and good times – v7) and 3) he would use this prophecy to later reveal himself as the One who fulfills his redemption promises. The entire world would know that he is God.

Lord, it is clear to me that you are always working behind the scenes on my behalf. Nothing happens by accident. You give me hope when all hope seems gone. I am never without hope.